MASERU — Insurance giant, Metropolitan Lesotho, says it posted impressive financial results for the first six months of this year.
Metropolitan Lesotho managing director Nkau Matete made the remarks while presenting the company’s results for the period January to June in Maseru last Saturday.
Matete said the company’s gross premium income had increased by 12 percent from M149 million for the same period last year to M167 million this year.
The company’s operating profit stood at M23.9 million during the first six months, he said.
“The first six months of 2010 have been really encouraging for us more especially considering the volatility in the markets as a result of the global crisis,” Matete said.
He said the firm’s solid financial position was evident from its high Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) cover which measures how a financial institution is able to contain its risk.
“Our CAR cover is 3.2 which indicates that we are in a good financial position. The basic is two so we are in a strong financial position,” Matete said.
He said the insurance firm went through lean times in the 2008/2009 financial year seriously affecting the company’s investment income.
“In any operation a double digit growth is very good given the slow growth of the economy from the beginning of this year,” Matete said.
The insurance firm has seen the value of new business almost double over the past year.
For 2010 the new business figure has increased by over 94 percent from M3.8 million to M7.4 million over the first half of the year.
“New business is one of the most significant indicators since it shows that the business is growing and is increasing its clientele base,” Matete said.
He said the insurance firm was however grappling with a high prevalence rate of HIV/Aids as well as high fraudulent claims.
Lesotho has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world with 23.2 percent of the country’s population said to be living with the virus that causes Aids.
This had resulted in high mortality rates which caused more claims for insurance policies.
Matete also raised concerns about the increasing numbers of fraudulent insurance claims within the industry.
“There are a lot of fraudulent claims. We have however put in place internal strategies to curb fraud,” he said.
Matete said a total of 819 new insurance policies had been opened in the first six months of the year which was close to their target of 1 000 for the year.
Metropolitan Lesotho is 100 percent-owned by Metropolitan Holdings which is based in South Africa.
Matete said the local subsidiary was planning to issue shares to local investors.
Metropolitan is the biggest insurance company in the country with total assets of M1.6 billion and a total staff complement of 259.
The company has about four branches serving the whole country.